Santa Barbara- S County

Solvang holds council meeting to discuss proposed ban on commercial pot grows

Resolution passes 5 to 0

SOLVANG, Calif. - As Santa Barbara County opens its doors to marijuana cultivation, some cities are pushing back to keep the industry out of their area.

Monday night Solvang held a city council meeting to discuss resolutions to call for a ban on commercial cannabis cultivation on surrounding county land. 

In the meeting, Solvang council members discussed their opposition to commercial cannabis grows around their city border. Their biggest concern is a common complaint in Carpinteria: the odor.

"If it's outdoor cultivation, that odor may have an impact on our tourism that we are heavily-reliant on," said Solvang City Manager David Gassaway.

Solvang is hoping to bypass the uproar that Carpinteria has had over the cannabis smell. They're asking the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for a ban on commercial grows just outside the city.

"It's just city council looking to formally take a position in support of what seems like the county planning commission recommendation that the county prohibits marijuana cultivation in Ag 1 zones," said Gassaway.

Agriculture 1 Zones are areas that are anywhere between 1 and up to 40 acres of land.

Officials in Solvang say the city opposes the cultivation for several reasons beyond just the funk.

"It's really about maintaining the quality of life for the residents that live here. There is a lot of concerns around odor, traffic, water, public safety," said Solvang Mayor Ryan Toussaint.

Toussaint says with frequent water shortages in the Santa Ynez Valley, grows would impede.

"So you have all these things that can really drain a lot of the local resource for water and that starts competing with our potable water sources," said Toussaint.

Some local businesses are also in support of the ban, worried a week stink will drain tourism profits.

"So I think the smell is so bad that people will stop coming to Solvang. Because mostly the shoppers we get are from out of town," said Solvang Shoe Store manager Romy Chavarria.

Monday's meeting started at 6 p.m. at the city council chambers. The resolution passed with a five-to-zero vote.

The resolution will now be sent to the Board of Supervisors for Tuesday's hearing on cannabis regulations.

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